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Why Is My Monitor So Laggy?


As an owner of a computer monitor, I have often been frustrated by its lagging performance. I was determined to find out why my monitor was so laggy, so I did some research and testing to figure out the cause. Now, I’m here to share what I learned, as well as other solutions I discovered along the way.

You may have a case of high monitor latency or input lag. This causes a delay from when you press the button on your mouse, keyboard, or controller to when your monitor displays that action.

In this article, we’ll explain more about monitor lags and how to reduce them.

What Causes Monitor Lags?

Whether you’re using heavy programs or running a performance-intensive game, latency is the main reason your monitor is laggy. However, the response time may also play a role in why the graphics look choppy.

Let’s take a closer look at what these terms mean.

Monitor Latency or Input Lag

If you’re playing using a video game console, the signal travels from the controller to the console and passes through the cable before reaching your monitor. When it gets there, it still has to be processed before getting translated into the action you see on the screen.

When you have a high level of input lag, this means that it takes a long time for the signal from the input device to be displayed on the screen.

Any of the hardware components may contribute to lag, which is why it’s important to have a monitor with a low latency specification. Keep in mind that the input lag is measured in milliseconds.

Here’s what you can expect depending on the different levels, using gaming as a reference:

0-20ms

This level is ideal, and there’ll be almost no lag between your input device and your monitor. So, you’ll see the command on the screen instantly. If you’re into competitive games, having an input lag as low as this will give you an advantage.

21-40ms

This is still good even for playing online games since the lag won’t be too noticeable. However, players who have a lower input lag might have an advantage over you.

41-70ms

You can still play well even at this level of monitor latency unless there are other factors causing lag, such as limited bandwidth. You may also start to notice the lag between your input device and the on-screen action.

70ms and Above

At this point, you may find your games to be unplayable, and you might not be able to keep up with the rest of the players. Using this kind of laggy monitor for other programs may also become frustrating.

This is when you should check your monitor for input lag and try to reduce it.

Response Time

Response time is not the same thing as monitor latency. It actually refers to the time it takes for pixels to go from black to white or gray to gray. 

This is what monitor manufacturers usually include when advertising their products. The response time is also measured in milliseconds, and it’s usually 10ms for monitors.

The higher the response time, the more chances your monitor has for ghosting, which makes it seem like the graphics are laggy.

So, whether you’re looking at the input lag or response time, the lower it is, the better!

3 Tips to Reduce Monitor Lags

The good news is that while hardware specs play an important role, there are still a few ways to reduce input lag and ghosting issues.

The catch here is that you might need to try each of them until you find a combination of methods that works best for your monitor setup.

  1. Adjust Your Monitor Settings

When gaming, you can check to see if your monitor has a dedicated game mode. Switching to this mode can boost the processing speed by toning down less important elements. Ultimately, you should be able to spot a difference

If there’s no game mode on your monitor, you can try other modes to find one that’s most compatible with your use.

To reduce ghosting, you can adjust settings like Dynamic Contrast, Noise Reduction, Motion Blur Reduction, or Motion Smoothing.

  1. Check Your Cables

If you’re using an HDMI cable on your monitor, you can test it with each port to see if there are any improvements. Make sure your cable isn’t faulty or too tangled.

It could be better to avoid using cable adapters or splitters because they can affect the signal quality. Instead, it’s best to have the monitor connected directly to your console or PC.

  1. Switch From Wireless to Wired

Wired input devices, such as your keyboard, mouse, and controller, can be faster than wireless ones. You can try to use wired devices with your monitor to see how much of a difference it makes.

If there’s a significant reduction in input lag, you might want to compromise on the convenience of wireless accessories and stick to the traditional wired one.

Wrapping Up

Lags may be unavoidable when playing games and using heavy programs that demand a lot from your setup. It can be a bother, but hopefully, our suggested methods will reduce the lags.

If nothing works, you might have to resort to reducing the monitor’s resolution for a smoother experience.